The UAE and other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are poised to become the world’s fastest growing consulting markets this year , a new study found.
The latest findings published in a report from Source Information Services said the region’s consulting business grew to $1.9 billion last year, up by 20 per cent, the biggest gain among the major global markets.
The main hotspots in the GCC are the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, offering attractive conditions that are ideal for consulting firms to thrive. 
“The GCC is a market in which clients everywhere are trying to do a lot, very quickly, with very few people, and those are conditions in which consulting markets thrive,” said Edward Haigh, director of Source and author of the report.
The Source report looks into the major markets in the world to advise consulting firms on where their investments are best directed this year.
It ranks each market for overall attractiveness against three factors — growth potential in 2014, ability to attract and retain talent, and the prices that consulting firms can command.
“Exactly how attractive a market is to you depends, to some extent, on the sort of firm you are and what you’re trying to achieve. But in general terms, it’s hard to find a better bet for 2014 than the GCC. It’s the fastest growing market by some distance,” the report said.
This does not mean that all countries in the region are awash with consulting money. “If we were to break down the market into individual countries, then Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar would undoubtedly feature very prominently in our rankings,” the report added.
However, the other GCC countries (Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain) are forecast to have tougher prospects. “There’s potential in each, but we wouldn’t bet on it coming to fruition in 2014,” the report said.
The GCC consulting market referred to in the report covers leading consulting firms, as well as smaller regional and local specialists offering traditional management consulting services to areas including human resources and IT, except public relations, advertising and legal.
Annalinde Nickisch, HR consultant at the UAE-based Thought Factory , which offers consultancy services in the areas of management, retail, branding and human resources, said the fast-paced environment in Dubai is ideal for consultancy organisations to do business.
“Dubai promotes constant change and has always been the epitome of excellence with companies eager to grow — and grow fast,” she told Gulf News.
Since its inception 14 years ago, The Thought Factory’s portfolio has expanded significantly and it now boasts over 2,000 projects with 200 clients. The company generates most of the revenues from consulting work on clients’ recruitment and evaluation processes, temporary staffing, design and implementation of performance management system, among others.